What is Health? And My 3 Pillars for Optimal Health

Today, in the Scheer Madness Podcast, I share my three pillars for optimal health. We all need to have a healthy and functional gut, stay active through regular exercise, and do things that help promote mental health. All these and putting our time and effort into things that make us happy will lead to a fulfilling life!     

For more information about working with our team at Rachel Scheer Nutrition, book a free 30-minute call at www.rachelscheer.com/application 


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:59 Fit on the outside, miserable on the inside
  • 04:15 Pillar #1: Let’s talk about gut health
  • 08:35 Pillar #2: Muscle mass is incredibly important
  • 14:03 Pillar #3: Mental health
  • 22:16 3 things that lead to a fulfilling life

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Podcast Transcript:

Our brain health influences our mental health. And I truly believe that the quality of our life is based on the quality of our mind. Our thoughts in our brain insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But if you are ready to level up your life and get results that truly matter in your health business mindset and relationships, then this is the podcast for you.

Welcome to shared madness, where we have unscripted real conversations with the world’s top athletes, entrepreneurs, and coaches discover real world and tactical advice from the best in the business. Let’s go. Hello. She madness fam I think the word health gets thrown around quite a bit, especially if you are in the fitness industry.

If you were a bodybuilder, if you’re someone who’s just beginning your weight loss journey. we tend to look at health as just one avenue, lose weight, build muscle, get to the body composition that I want to. And then. I’m gonna be healthy. And I used to have the exact same mindset and philosophy when they came to health as an ex bikini competitor, bodybuilder and fitness model, I used to think I was healthy.

If I just was lean, I had six pack abs and. That was it. Then I would be healthy, but as my own healing journey has progressed more and more over the years with starting my healing journey in my early twenties, getting into fitness, to evolving to almost a decade later. I now know that it is so much more than just that.

And many of you guys know my story of gut issues, almost having my entire large intestine removed, but what’s so interesting about that story is. That was actually the peak level of fitness that I had ever been at. I was shredded beyond belief. I had a body that most women would die for, but to be completely transparent, it was the most unhappy and unfulfilled I have ever been in my entire life.

So despite being fit on the outside, I was miserable on the inside. You guys. My mental health was suffering. My relationships were suffering. I had all of these gut issues, chronically E bloated. I was constipated. Not so sexy for a fitness model or a bikini competitor. So when we only look at health through one lens through the lens of weight loss, or the lens of being strong, we really, really miss out on what this entire journey truly has to offer.

And that’s because health is not just going to the gym, picking up some heavy things for an hour, every single day, eating real food. Most of the time, I’m pretty sure we’ve cracked the code with that one. And health is not just the absence of disease and health issues. But health is truly the presence of optimal feeling and function, which is why I say, if we only look at it through one lens, like weight loss or building muscle, or getting to my dream body and nothing wrong with any of those things, trust me, I’m an advocate for all of those different avenues, but we’re gonna find ourself very, very unfulfilled and.

Even unhealthy in a lot of other different areas of our life. So let’s talk about some of the pillars when it comes to overall health. So I’ve really broken it down into three pillars with my practice at Rachel sheer nutrition. And the first one I wanna talk about is gut health, because as most of you guys now, I am super passionate about gut health gut health for me changed my entire life because at the peak of my fitness modeling career competing in body building, I had a ton of gut issues and it affected literally every system in my entire body.

My hormones plummeted. My thyroid was dysregulated. I had acne skin issues, my mental health suffered. And on top of it, I was chronically bloated to the end of every single day, looking six months pregnant. So after really working on the fitness side of everything with my beginning of my health journey, that’s when I really dove into gut health.

And our gut is. So important because it affects every system in our entire body. As hypocrites says, all disease begins and ends in the gut. So if the gut is off, if we have a dysbiotic gut, which means an imbalance in the good and the bad bacteria, this is then going to affect all of these other different systems in the body.

So first area of optimal. Is gonna be our gut. So how do we optimize our gut health? Well, first we need to remove the things that leads to gut imbalances. So that can be our diet, a diet full of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, um, inflammatory foods. If you want to hear about this a little bit more in depth, I would recommend going back to some of my previous podcasts about how to heal the gut, because I dive into this a lot more in depth, but it can also be things like medications, birth control, antibiotics, chronic stress, unaddressed trauma.

All of these things can negatively affect the gut. So we need to remove as many stressors as possible, but also add in things that are good for our guts and building a strong and a diverse microbiome. So that can be prebiotics. Prebiotics can come from food sources or sometimes supplementation. Great food sources are things like Hickma flax seeds, artichokes.

I love putting artichokes in all of my salads. Um, probiotics, which food based probiotics could be things like kimchi, sauerkraut miso, also supplementation through probiotics as well. And then polyphenols, so bright colored fruits and vegetables, and then just eating real whole food in general, for some people who have a really, really compromised gut, it can require doing a little bit of some weeding and receding, which is a lot of what I do with my practice.

Working with people with autoimmune conditions, Crohn’s ulcerative colitis, or just IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. Our gut just plays a big role in every system. So for me, and so many of the clients that I’ve worked with when we get our gut right. Every other system begins to fall into place. Our hormones start to become balanced.

So we don’t have as much PMs symptoms anymore. Um, we have less sugar cravings. Our body composition even improves. We lose weight easier. Our mental health even improves because our gut in our brain are interconnected through the vagus nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body. So everything improves once we can fix our gut.

So if you’re somebody who is dealing with gut issues, skin issues, or have some of these symptoms manifesting in the body, that’s when a functional medicine testing can be incredibly beneficial for you to determine what is off with your gut, but also what other systems in the body could be affecting. So gut health is the first pillar, but the second pillar is muscle.

So our muscle mass is incredibly important. Our body composition is incredibly important and I also focus on this. We just can’t. Only focus on our muscle mass because that’s all I focused on and I still ended up with all of these gut issues, thyroid issues, hormone issues, you know, mental health issues, quite a bit anxiety, depression, but muscle.

It is important and it is a pillar of overall health. Because muscle is not just for movement or looking good naked, but it is the key to longevity. And anti-aging because muscle is anti-inflammatory. So it actually decreases inflammation in the body. And inflammation at the core is really the root of all chronic disease in the body, gut issues, even neuro issues.

It all goes back to inflammation and a muscle is great because it actually helps keep inflammation lower. In the body. It also helps with a glucose disposal in balancing our blood sugar. So meaning that the more muscle we have, the more insulin sensitive we become, which is why when I work with women specifically, uh, because I just tend to have less muscle mass than men and they go through menopause.

And they haven’t spelled a good part of their life building muscle, getting in enough protein, doing resistance training, and they end up under muscled. This can actually create insulin resistance, which even makes it harder for them to lose weight, but also inflammation in the body. And this is where we start.

Develop a lot of other health issues quite a bit. So it’s not age very often. It is the lack of skeletal muscle mass. So on the opposite end. The more muscle we have, the more insulin sensitive we become, which is why bodybuilders or fitness enthusiasts can actually intake a lot more carbohydrates than the average American muscle also increases your energy.

So you just have more energy throughout the day because it hosts most of the bodies mitochondria. So. Think back to your biology classes in high school or college, but our cells have these little energy factories called mitochondria and these mitochondria actually produce something called ATP, otherwise known as energy and our muscle host.

The largest amount of mitochondria in the body. So the more muscle we have, the more energy we have. So another reason too, as when we get older and we’re like, oh my God, I’m chronically fatigued all the time. A lot of that can even go back to a loss of skeletal muscle mass. Then the last reason is metabolism.

We burn more calories. The more muscle we have. Yay. We get eat more. Um, but our metabolic system is just crucial for their prevention of disease altogether. So all in all muscle is an incredibly important pillar for health. It is just not the only pillar for overall health. And if you want to dive into a little bit more of.

Um, what’s called muscle centric medicine. I would definitely recommend my good friend, Dr. Gabriel lion. She actually came on the podcast. I think it’s episode 20 where we talk about if animal protein is good for you and why muscle is so important. You can also check out Dr. Gabriel lion on social media, because that is literally all, she talks about protein in muscle, and she is a powerhouse of a woman and a really good friend of mine.

95% of your body’s serotonin is produced by the bacteria that resides in your gut. And this explains why when my gut was erect or when clients come to work with me at Rachel she nutrition, they don’t just suffer from things like bloating, constipation, diarrhea. But they also have symptoms of anxiety, depression, and brain fog because our gut and our brain are highly interconnected.

And as hypocrites says, all disease begins and ends in the gut. And this is the exact reason why I am. So passionate about taking a functional root cause based approach for any chronic health condition, gut issues, mental health illness, autoimmune conditions, stubborn, weight loss, you name it. Me and my team do a comprehensive analysis, looking at all these different systems so we can test.

Instead of just guess I then develop a customized nutrition plan in protocol to address these root causes and balances in the body and restore function. If you wanna book a free 30 minute call with anyone from my team, click the link in the show notes or visit Rachel shear.com. The third pillar. So we got gut health.

That’s my baby. That’s my area. We got muscle mass also incredibly important, but the third area is just as important if not more important. And that is our mental health. Or our brain health too, because our brain health influences our mental health. And I truly believe that the quality of our life is based on the quality of our mind.

Our thoughts in our brain and our mind is shaped based off of our childhood experiences, our current environment, the people we surround ourself with on a daily basis. The food. We eat plays a massive role because it can trigger inflammation, blood sugar, IMB balances, it can negatively impact our gut. Um, it can also lead to deficiencies and things like B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to play a massive, massive role in our overall.

If you want to actually check out one of my previous episodes on the functional medicine approach to anxiety and depression, I dive into this a whole lot more. , but it’s also how much sunlight we get on a day to day basis. We have this giant battery in the sky and we’re not using it. We’re we’re sedentary.

We stare at computer screens all day and we wonder why our mental health is affected, but it’s also things like joy and laughter and play. Those things are so crucial. And right now we have a culture that places. You know, burnout on a pedestal and it is almost against our culture right now to lean into things like joy and play.

But our mental health is also gratitude. So it’s all of these different things that really make up our overall health. And there is a lot of things that can also affect our mental health and brain health. I’ve already mentioned a little bit about diet, but our diet plays a massive, massive role. So one of the best things you can do, if you’re someone who’s struggling with your mental health is get your diet.

Follow an anti-inflammatory diet pull out all of the processed foods, the artificial foods, the foods that are high in industrial seed oils and vegetable oils, all of those inflammatory foods, wreak havoc on your brain and therefore your mental health number two is chronic inflammation, which can be stemming from our diet, but also our.

Or also other hidden things like toxins in the body that we have no idea that we have mold heavy metals, which is why I do all of that testing with my clients here at Rachel Shearer nutrition, gut issues. We’ve already talked a lot about how the gut and the brain are interconnected through the vagus nerve.

And there is a huge connection between people who suffer with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety and depression. It could also be chronic. Or even unaddressed trauma, people who have gone through trauma in their childhood end up having what’s called a hypervigilant nervous system where something that may not stress out the average person and send them into a flight or.

Fight or flight mode will trigger somebody who has a history of trauma, um, because their nervous system is a little bit more sensitive to some of those stressors. And we know when our nervous system is dysregulated and cortisol levels are chronically elevated. This can affect our mental health leading to anxiety.

Um, this can affect our sleep. This can affect our gut health and that’s where. Working on this unaddressed trauma is super crucial for our physical health, but of course our brain health as well, too, the same thing with chronic stress, it doesn’t have to be something that happened previously, but if we have chronic work stress or relationship stress, again, that is going to massively negatively affect our mental health.

And I’m not talking about the small little stressors that we all deal with on a day to day basis. We’re all gonna experience stress in our. But it’s that chronic stress that’s leading to poor sleep, poor diet. Chos not working out, not moving our body. That really, really does end up playing a big role, lack of community, meaningful relationships as humans.

We need community. We need meaningful relationships. I truly believe that love. Is one of the greatest things. And honestly, the reason why we’re all trying to get to our optimal level of health is so we can have love more in our relationships so we can have more fulfillment in the work that we do so we can love others, give more, and that all comes back to community and relationships.

You could have the perfect body, you could have a six pack abs you could even have perfect gut health, but if you don’t have. Friendships relationships, community. We’re still not gonna be at the level of health that we need to be. And our mental health is still gonna be massively affected too. And that’s why when COVID happened and everything locked down and we couldn’t see our families, we couldn’t see our friends that so many of us really suffered.

Lack of sunlight. We need sunlight on a day to day basis. This is non-negotiable. We are literally just like the plants. We have to have sunlight to survive because the sunlight plays a massive, massive role in our mental health. Um, Helping create an optimal circadian rhythm, which our circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock.

So it helps us feel energized throughout the day through a spike of cortisol in the morning. And then in the evening time, it helps us actually get good sleep at night. So therefore, a poor sleep, which sometimes can manifest from lack of sunlight, lack of movement, inflammation, chronic stress. That kind of play a big role in our mental health.

And the last one, which I’ve touched on a little bit is just overall lack of fulfillment in our life. And honestly, like I said earlier, this is the whole reason why we try to obtain optimal health is because we want to live a more fulfilling life. So those are really the three big pillars. It is gut health.

It is muscle mass having enough muscle mass on your body. It is also your mental and brain health too. And the reason why we try to aspire for feeling our best looking our best is so we can live a more fulfilling life. We want to be able to enjoy experiences with the people we love. We don’t wanna be exhausted.

We don’t wanna have brain fog or gut issues that all we can do is think about just getting through the day so we can go to bed at night so we can wake up. And do it all over again. Just living day after day after, day in survival mode. That’s, that’s not the way life is supposed to be. We want to live a more fulfilling life and part of.

Working on our health, working on our body, working on our gut health, doing a functional medicine approach. If you’re someone who wants to work with us at Rachel sheer nutrition is so we can have a more fulfilling and meaningful life. And in my opinion, there are really three things that lead to a fulfilling life.

That’s our relationships. That’s our work and that is living a life in service and helping other people. And none of those things are possible. If we’re exhausted, if we’re burnt out all the time, if we’re bloated and we have these gut issues and we’re just living day after day in survival mode, none of that is possible because when disease is present, Optimal feeling and function.

Relationships cannot thrive. Creativity cannot manifest and having work that we’re just excited about that we’re able to create and add value to other people. Life does not exist. And that’s the reason why we all go on this health journey. And sometimes I truly think we, we lose sight of why we go on this journey.

I know I. I know I did when I started my fitness journey, um, because I wasn’t confident in myself before I started into fitness. I didn’t like my body. I wasn’t confident in my skin. So it started off as a very healthy venture to better myself, but then I lost sight. Of why I was really on this journey in the first place and that’s to live a more fulfilling life.

So if you feel like your journey is taking away from any of those things, that’s where we really need to take a step back and pay attention to the fruits in our life. Because all of these things, fitness working on building muscle, you. Gut health healing, mental health, all of these, these things should add good fruits to our life.

But at any point, if your fitness journey, your health journey, you know, starts to create rotten fruits in your life like mine did when I became just. So into fitness that it took away from my relationships, it manifested and got issues and all that. Then that’s really when we need to step back and assess why we’re really on this journey in the first place, and maybe even work with a professional as well too.

So ask yourself this today. What does a fulfilling life really, really look like to you? What would a truly fulfilling. Look like to you and I can guarantee you, it’s not gonna be well, if I just was at this body weight or, well, if I just, you know, had this perfect body, that can be one avenue, but I promise you it’s so much more than that.

And also ask yourself. What areas of your health are inhibiting you from reaching a fulfilling life? Because I also know for myself when my gut was erect, when I was chronically bloated all the time, like that’s all I could focus on. And it took away from me living a fulfilling life. So, what does a fulfilling life look like to you in what areas of your health do you need to focus on to have a more fulfilling life?

Because sometimes we just look at the symptoms like, Ugh, I’m just tired. I’m just fatigued. I just have brain fog. I’m just a little bit bloated, but it’s not just the symptoms it’s always taking away from some other area of your life. So I hope you guys enjoyed today’s podcast. Do me a favor, share this on your social media tag at Rachel share.

I love it. When you guys share it in your story, I will always reshare it. And if you wanna get some more information about working with me and my team at Rachel share nutrition, you can actually do a free 30 minute call. Go ahead and visit Rachel shear.com/application. Fill out your application today.

And I can’t wait to talk to you. And this is Ben sheer madness.

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